About two weeks ago, my company took us out for a summer adventure. Yup, we were pretty much paid to have fun (completely NOT against our will). We got to choose our own activity, so this year, we chose to go on the famous Paramount Pictures Studio Tour.
It was a gorgeously warm day in Los Angeles. Skies were a crisp blue. Here we were on the lot for our VIP tour — a 4.5 hour tour of the oldest studio in town. It was a private tour with just the 6 of us and our tour guide.
The tour started off with an introduction to the main entrance and the theatre. The gates of the entrance are supposed to be good luck, so we all made sure we got to touch it before leaving. Actually, we had passed it for a second, and our wonderful tour guide backed up the golf cart and went through it again slowly so we could all get a little luck on our fingers.
We also got to sit on the actual bench from the movie Forrest Gump. I’m sure you’ve heard of that movie. Can you believe the movie is 20-years-old now?? The bench’s back is set at a 90 degree angle, so no matter who sits on it, they’ll have the iconic Forrest Gump posture.
The theatre was actually pretty cool. This is where they do movie screenings for a lot of their movies. There’s a 2-way mirror in the back for directors and producers to see the reactions of the audience, and there’s also a table near the back of the theatre for any directors that actually want to sit in the audience. You know the Paranormal Activity commercials that show peoples reaction’s to the movie? It’s filmed here!
Our ride for the afternoon. Fancy, huh?
On the left is an image showing the active stages as well as a list of what’s being filmed in them. On the right is their “pool” which they would fill with water for water scenes and a backdrop to hide the perfectly blue Los Angeles skies. Apparently, our skies seem to look fake on film. Right now the pool is used as a parking lot.
As we moved along towards the sets, we got to see different scenes and learned how they make some of these sets. Our guide also shared many of the shows that were filmed in the same exact location — they just dress up the set a little differently so it looks like a completely different place.
I can’t remember exactly when lunch came in the picture, but the VIP tour included an AMAZING lunch. I think it was the biggest highlight for all of us because it was so delicious. A strawberry, barley and spinach salad; some roasted chicken with spicy chimichurri; a variety of roasted vegetables; a deliciously unique potato salad; and, of course, the pretzel rolls. There was a variety of cookies and brownies too. I probably forgot something, but if you just want to get down to the point, it was delicious.
Anyways, our tour guide really was an awesome tour guide. Below, you can see a small scene of where signs of all types are made so we got to go in and talk to the guys who make the prints and learn more about the behind-the-scenes stuff. On the right is a photo of me outside Kate Hudson’s apartment from How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days — one of my fave movies! Yes, I’m serious.
Eventually, we were taken indoors to the archives. Aisles upon aisles and floor to ceiling filled with movies — some much older than others. We got to see part of the process of getting everything to digital too which was nifty. One day, all of these films might just fit into one aisle.
After that we got to see the fun stuff — the actual costumes and props used in the movies!
This below was probably the most fascinating part of the tour for me. Here is the jewelry archive where pieces from movies from 100 years ago until now are kept. The crazy thing? Some of these pieces haven’t been identified yet! The lady sitting at the desk – her job is to watch old movies and see if she can find out where the un-identified pieces came from. She said she went to a film festival just recently and saw a piece of jewelry on a character that she had a feeling was held in the archive. Lo-and-behold, it was the piece. The jewelry now has an identity! What a job, huh?
I worked on props a lot in high school and college, so the props area of any studio tour is always fun for me. The Paramount public props area wasn’t as extensive as I thought it would be, but I still managed to spot some cool things. Ya know, like Bumblebee from Transformers.
This was technically my 3rd studio tour, and it was really different from the others. Paramount has significantly more history, so the tour itself was a lot more rich in film culture. People who are fans of classic films will really love this. However, I must warn you. This was the first tour for one of my colleagues, and she said it was really ruining the movie magic for her! I mean, it was definitely cool, but be warned. It’s amazing what can be done nowadays in film.
Lastly, you get a nice souvenir photo on your way out. I chose to keep my coworkers out of the photos, but you get the picture 🙂
I’m so thankful my company treats me out to fun things like this. I think anyone can agree that it’s always nice to get out of the office for a bit!
Paramount Studios Tour | 5515 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, CA 90038